Annual Munro. Beinn a’Chochuill. August 2018.
Helen Rose Outdoor Diary
It’s nearly eleven years since I completed the entire round of Munros in Scotland. These are mountains of more than 3000 feet that Sir Hugh Munro listed in 1891. When I compleated (original spelling!) them, there were 284 as more modern measuring devices have been used since Sir Hugh divided the summits into 283 separate mountains (now known as the Munros), whilst 255 further summits over 3000 feet were considered to be only subsidiary ‘tops’. His list caused quite a stir at the time, as it had previously been thought that there were only around 30 mountains of that height. The present list is 282 as some Munros have been demoted! Over the past few years I have tried to do an annual Munro and this year it was Beinn a’Chochuill (meaning the Hill of the Shell in Gaelic) at Dalmally. I went with the Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers and after I checked my Munro Log, I discovered I had climbed this hill with its neighbour Beinn Euniach with the group twenty five years ago.
These hills are located near the small village of Dalmally which is spread along the Stratch of Orchy in Argyll & Bute 2 miles east of the tip of Loch Awe. The village was established by the first Lord of Glenorchy, Sir Colin Campbell, and started as a settlement serving the nearby historic Kilchurn Castle. Nowadays, Dalmally is a popular tourist destination surrounded by lochs, rivers, mountains and beautiful scenery and a railway station operating on the Glasgow to Oban line. We started the walk on a gently rising landrover track. It was a very hot day and we were walking at an easy pace as a group. The faster walkers had gone on ahead as they were climbing both Munros. As the weather had been so dry for a prolonged spell, the burns were down to a trickle at best and some people dipped their sunhats in the water to cool down.
The hills to the side are known as the Dalmally Horseshoe and comprise Ben Cruachan with a ridge round to Stob Daimh. Ben Cruachan is famous as one of the hidden wonders of the Highlands with a power station buried one kilometre below the ground. At its centre lies a massive cavern, high enough to house the Tower of London! Here, enormous turbine converts the power of water into electricity, available to you in your home at the flick of a switch. There are tours available and it is on my wish-list to take the tour. We stopped for a tea break to relax and take in the clear views. There was no shade and some people used an umbrella as a parasol. There was a lovely view down to Loch Awe with the island in the centre where the ruined Kilchurn Castle is located.
After our extended tea break we left the landrover track and it was a pathless ascent on steep ground until we finally reached the ridge. We had frequent stops to admire the view and to drink to keep hydrated. The last time I had climbed this hill it was on a clear day but not as warm. When we approached the bealach which is the pass between two mountains, we passed the faster walkers heading to the second Munro. It was a very pleasant walk along the gently ascending stony ridge to reach the top where we relaxed and had lunch. It was 26 degrees celsius on the top at over 3200 feet. We had views over to Ben Lomond but not as far as Ben Nevis which is the highest mountain in Scotland at 4400 feet. There was a heat haze but on a clear winters day Ben Nevis is visible. It was a case of choosing which way to face for lunch as there were panoramic views of mountains all around.
I was delighted to complete the annual Munro and thoroughly enjoyed the day out. For the record we were out for seven hours with a lot of stops and I drank two litres of water as it was very warm for walking. We were all prepared with plenty of water, sunhats and suncream. Everyone was so friendly and obviously enjoying the walk at an easy pace. Thanks to Peter B. for organising it and Peter A. for leading it.
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This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary
Filed under: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary
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